Segment 5

Annotation

A friend of Holloman’s in a MATS [Annotator's Note: Military Air Transport Service] unit needed an operations officer. Holloman transferred to the 1704th flying C-54s. It was a major's slot so Holloman hoped he would be promoted. He was ordered to be checked out in every aircraft that came through the squadron. He flew the "Gooney Bird" C-47, C-54, C-124, C-97, and the C-118 the "Connie" [Annotator's Note: the "Connie" is actually the Lockheed C-121 "Constellation"]. Holloman did two trips to Korea.When word came down that a check pilot was needed at Hamilton Field he was selected. There he flew B-17s outfitted with rescue boats and PBYs [Annotator's Note: Consolidated PBY "Catalina" flying boat]. After the B-17s and PBYs were phased out they began flying the SA-16 "Albatross" [Annotator's Note: Grumman SA-16 "Albatross" flying boat].In December of 1952 Holloman saw his name on the unit bulletin board. He had applied for helicopter school since all of the squadrons were getting helicopters. He became the US Air Force's first black helicopter pilot. The army had a few already that were friends of Holloman who had stayed in the army when the army and air force split in 1947. After the Korean War, in 1953, Holloman again resigned from the US Air Force in order to try to become a civilian airline pilot. He was working for Lucky Lager Beer when he ran into a friend of his who asked him to join the army. Holloman went in as a corporal flying helicopters at the Presidio in San Francisco. Three months later his paperwork came back. His commission had been rejected. He spent 2 years as a corporal before flying to Washington to see Brigadier General Morris Banks. General Banks had been Holloman's unit flight surgeon during World War II. He got a waiver and was made a warrant officer. He was sent back through helicopter school. Holloman had more helicopter flight time than his instructor. Holloman was sent to Fort Sill, Oklahoma [Annotator's Note: Lawton, Oklahoma] as an instructor. From Ft. Sill he was sent to Fort Bragg, North Carolina. At Ft. Bragg Holloman encountered a lot of racism. He was not allowed to have his family with him so he raised a lot of hell. He was sent to Fort Stewart, Georgia. From there he was sent to Thule, Greenland [Annotator’s Note: Thule Air Base, now Peterson Air Force Base]. In Thule, Holloman was flying C-54s with his friends from the Air Force and helicopters. When his tour at Thule was up in 1957 he resigned from the army. At the time he had 15 years of service. Holloman joined the reserves and was returned to his Air Force rank of major. He did a tour crop dusting bananas in Central America. In 1957, a Canadian airline offered him a job flying DC-3's. He also flew helicopters. Holloman was in the reserves from December 1957 through 1966 when he was recalled to active duty to go to Vietnam.

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